CHICAGO WOLVES (11-14-2-0) AT MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (19-4-2-2)
WOLVES LOVE FRIDAY THE 13th
Tonight’s Central Division clash with the Milwaukee Admirals marks the first time since April 13, 2018, that the Wolves have laced them up on Friday the 13th. While other teams might fear the worst on this date that supposedly brings bad luck, the Wolves tend to serve the bad luck to their opponents.
Chicago owns a 16-5-1-1 record on Friday the 13th, which includes points in 11 of its last 12 games. In the most recent game on this date, the Wolves won 6-4 on April 13, 2018, at Rockford to clinch the Central Division crown. In that game, forward Keegan Kolesar registered the opening goal and goaltender Oscar Dansk picked up his second assist of the season as he earned the primary helper on a Zac Leslie power-play goal.
Rewinding further on Friday the 13th: the Wolves won 4-2 on Jan. 13, 2017, at Manitoba and suffered a 3-2 overtime loss on Nov. 13, 2015, at Manitoba. On Feb. 13, 2015, Jordan Binnington stopped 29 shots as the Wolves earned a 1-0 shutout over the Oklahoma City Barons at Allstate Arena.
FIRING AWAY FRUITFULLY
On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Admirals outshot the Rockford IceHogs 56-14 — including a 25-2 margin in the third period — yet somehow came away with a 2-1 overtime loss. The Chicago Wolves can sympathize with the Admirals.
Prior to the Wolves’ 4-2 win last Saturday at Manitoba, Chicago hadn’t won any games this year when outshooting its opponent. Now the Wolves are 1-6-1-0 when outshooting foes as they outgunned the Moose by a 36-27 margin. After winning the shots battle in just four of their first 22 games, the Wolves have outshot their opponent in four of the last five games.
They’ve also moved out of the basement in the AHL’s shots per game statistic. The Wolves rank 30th with 26.78 shots per game while Toronto — the North Division leader — stands last with 26.32 shots per game.
TURNING THE POWER OFF
The last time the Wolves and the Admirals met — exactly one month ago — Milwaukee scored five power-play goals to tie the Wolves franchise record for most PPGs allowed in one game. The Admirals are 7 of 9 on the power play against the Wolves this season.
If you take the three Chicago-Milwaukee games out of the equation, the Wolves would be killing penalties at an 86.0 percent rate (74 of 86) and rank fifth in the AHL. Instead, the Wolves are killing penalties at an 80 percent rate (76 of 95) and share 21st place in the league. The Wolves boast a recent history of frustrating Novembers and fantastic Decembers. Take a look:
WE ARE THE WOLVES
As the 2010s come to a close, the Chicago Wolves are hosting a series of fan votes to determine the franchise’s All-Decade Team. Considering the Wolves have won six division titles in the last 10 years — capped by a run to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals — there are a lot of great players from which to choose.
Voting begins with the goaltenders. The four finalists for the Goaltender of the Decade honor are Jake Allen, Jordan Binnington, Matt Climie and Oscar Dansk.
LAST TWO GAMES
- Rookie forward Jermaine Loewen, who grew up in Manitoba, scored his first AHL goal late in the first period to spark the Wolves’ victory at Bell MTS Place.
- Defenseman Dylan Coghlan and forwards Reid Duke and Lucas Elvenes also scored goals for Wolves, who won for the first time this season when firing more shots than their opponent.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 25 saves.
- Manitoba’s Kristian Vesalainen scored on a 5-on-3 power play midway through the third period to give the Moose a lead they would not relinquish at Bell MTS Place.
- Forward Reid Duke scored 2:16 into the game to give the Wolves the lead and Ben Jones earned the assist.
- Goaltender Garret Sparks posted 20 saves.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Wolves forward Lucas Elvenes continues to rank No. 1 among all American Hockey League rookies in points (27) and assists (20). The 20-year-old from Angelholm, Sweden ranks third among all AHL players in assists — just two behind league leader Jansen Harkins of Manitoba — while he ranks fifth in points. That stands four behind Utica’s Reid Boucher and Belleville’s Drake Batherson. A rookie has been the Wolves scoring champ just once in the first 25 years — when Ty Rattie paced the 2013-14 squad with 48 points (31G, 17A) in 72 games. Brett Sterling owns the franchise record for most points by a rookie. He racked up 97 points (55G, 42A) in 77 games during 2006-07.
6: Wolves center Reid Duke has scored six goals this year — all of them on the road. Duke delivered goals in each of the Wolves’ games at Manitoba last weekend to give the 23-year-old Calgary native six goals and two assists in 15 road games this season. Conversely, he owns one assist in 10 home appearances. For his career, Duke has produced nine of his 13 pro goals away from Allstate Arena.
7: When the Wolves captured the Central Division title last April, they became the seventh organization in the American Hockey League’s 83-year history to win back-to-back-to-back division crowns. They joined the company of Toronto (2012-14), Rochester (1999-2001), Philadelphia (1997-99), Hershey (1967-69), Quebec (1964-66) and Springfield (1960-62). If the Wolves win the Central Division this year, they’ll become the first AHL franchise to win four straight titles.
16: The Wolves lead the American Hockey League in most road games played with 16. The Wolves boast the AHL’s 20th-best road winning percentage at .438 (7-9-0-0). Typically, Chicago plays more road games than home games during the front half of the schedule before enjoying a healthy home-vs.-road differential from February through April. This season, the Wolves play 31 games after the All-Star Break — and 18 will be at Allstate Arena.
301: Forward Brandon Pirri raced past the 300-point mark for his AHL career on Dec. 4 at Grand Rapids. He earned No. 300 with a goal at 10:31 of the second period against Grand Rapids, then picked up No. 301 at 18:22 of the same period when he helped set up Valentin Zykov’s power-play goal. Pirri also raced past the 100-point mark for his time with the Wolves. In 95 regular-season appearances, he owns 50 goals and 52 assists.
1988: The Wolves boast three players whose fathers were selected in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. Jake Leschyshyn’s father, Curtis, went No. 3 overall to the Quebec Nordiques. Lucas Elvenes’ father, Stefan, went in the fourth round (No. 71 overall) to the Chicago Blackhawks. Jake Bischoff’s father, Grant, went at the start of the 11th round (No. 211 overall) to the Minnesota North Stars. Other intriguing Wolves-related picks in that draft: Longtime general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was picked No. 16 overall by the New York Islanders. Ted Crowley, who scored the first goal in Wolves history on Oct. 1, 1994, went in the fourth round — one pick after Tony Amonte and two before Elvenes. Mike Rosati, who serves as the Vegas Golden Knights’ goaltending development coach and works with the Wolves goalies, was picked in the seventh round by the New York Rangers.
|Saturday, Dec. 14||vs. Milwaukee||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
|Tuesday, Dec. 17||vs. San Antonio||Allstate Arena||11 a.m.||Tickets|
|Saturday, Dec. 21||vs. Texas||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|